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Company Takes a Tough Pot Stand on 4/20

Ben & Jerry's wants weed convictions expunged
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2019 5:30 PM CDT
Ben & Jerry's "Half Baked" flavor ice cream.   (Ben & Jerry's)
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(Newser) – On marijuana's unofficial holiday, Ben and Jerry's took a tough political stand. "It's hard to celebrate 4/20 when so many people of color are still being arrested for pot," the ice cream chain tweeted on Saturday, per KRIS-TV. "We have to do better." In a blog, the company argues that Congress should "expunge prior marijuana convictions" and give pardons or amnesty to "anyone whose only crime was possession of cannabis." The company notes that Seattle and San Francisco are already doing so, as ThinkProgress and the San Francisco Chronicle confirm, and several big-city prosecutors are refusing to prosecute pot-possesion cases, per the New York Times. "It's time to take this national," the company says.

The chain makes its case with racial statistics. Over eight million pot arrests were made between 2001 and 2010, per the ACLU, but blacks were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for weed possession during that time. And USA Today reports that even states where adults 21 and over can now light up, like Alaska and Colorado, are arresting blacks for marijuana at abnormally high rates. "Want to feel really really good this 4/20? Then let’s make sure that legalization benefits all of us," the company says. "That’ll turn 4/20 into a day that we all can celebrate." Ben and Jerry's includes a petition promoting the cause that has over 31,000 signatures thus far. The company has also partnered with a cannabis brand to give 4.2% of their 4/20 sales to the non-profit Clear My Record, per MarketWatch. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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